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15.02.2007 General News

Tagor`s lawyer accuses prosecution… of delay tactics

By (ghanaian-chronicle)

STATE PROSECUTIONS, for the second time running failed to produce further witnesses to give evidence before the Fast Track court (FTC), where two people are standing trial over the missing 77parcels of cocaine on-board the Vessel MV Benjamin.

The first time the prosecution failed in this respect after producing five witnesses, was on January 30, this year, when they held the continuous trial process in suspense.

Before the FTC, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge, yesterday, Ms. Gertrude Aikins, acting Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP) noted that her outfit was unable to get the witnesses expected to give evidence as they were outside the jurisdiction.

The accused persons, Kwabena Amaning a.k.a. Tagor and Alhaji Issa Abass are standing trial over the missing illicit drug on-board the Vessel MV Benjamin that found its way onto the Ghanaian waters. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges of possessing drugs without license.

The assertions of the state prosecutions drew strong reactions from defense counsel as they protested against what they termed the continuous delay of the trial.

In an oral application requesting for bail to be granted the accused persons, Mr. Ellis Owusu Fordjour, lead counsel for Tagor, noted that the defense had accommodated the state for far enough as they should be assisting in the fast disposal of the case before the court more so, when the court trying the case is a Fast Track court.

Counsel noted that the accused person had been in custody from August 1, 2006 up to now, adding that they had been treated like common criminals, moving from one cell to the other on nine different occasions.

This, to counsel, amounts to torture as the rights of the accused persons had been curtailed for far too long.

He therefore requested that the accused persons be granted bail based on the delay tactics being exhibited by state prosecutions.

Mr. Safo Buabeng, counsel for the 2nd accused person, additionally, complained about the way and manner the accused persons were being treated.

He told the court that the accused persons had been accompanied by armed policemen, depicting people being tried for treason.

This assertion quickly drew a reaction from the court, which retorted that the atmosphere of the court does not look like a treason trial at all.

In response to the arguments put forward by the defense, the acting DPP noted that investigations had been completed on the case and that the accused persons had no cause to be granted bail, following the dictates of the laws as they should be held in prison custody.

The court, in its ruling, refused the oral application for bail requested by the defense.

According to the court, the defense had not satisfied it with its arguments, as trial had not reached where accused persons should be granted bail.

The court, however, noted that the defense was entitled to make a formal application before the court if they 'so wish'.

The court therefore ordered the accused persons, who were in police custody to be remanded into prison custody, stressing that the investigator of the case, Detective Inspector Charles Adaba, should seek the welfare of the accused persons, most especially, for issues concerning their health to be well attended to.

The court adjourned sitting to February 21, 2007 for continuation.
The accused persons were earlier charged together with Victor Kisseh, alias Yaw Billah, Alhaji Moro Mohammed, and Kwabena Acheampong, who are currently serving as prosecution witnesses in the same case.